Free radicals – what is it?


If you live in constant run and stress, eat everything or anything, smoke cigarettes and often save yourself with the painkillers - be careful! You are exposed to a massive attack of free radicals.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are chemical compounds that are formed every day in the body of each of us. They are a side effect of the breathing process. They are particles of organic compounds with one free electron. What does this mean in practice? Such a molecule has two choices: either it will give this electron to another molecule or it will take one more from another and have a set.

Why is this problematic? In the search for these possibilities, free radicals behave very aggressively and attack neighbouring cells. And by spreading throughout the body, they damage everything they find in their path. In short, free radicals have a destructive effect on body cells.

Free radicals versus antioxidants

The situation is not dangerous as long as the ratio of those substances is right. Free radicals are needed by our organism, for example, in immunological processes, because they destroy pathogenic microorganisms. As long as there is a balance between free radicals and the antioxidants which destroy them, there is no threat to health. However, when this balance is disturbed, there is a rapid proliferation of free radicals and, as a result, various diseases develop.

The destructive effect of free radicals is very extensive - they can destroy cells of the heart, brain and other important organs, they can damage nerve cells, weaken the immune system and even damage genetic material contained in the cells. In extreme cases, it can even lead to cancer. Free radicals pollute our body. When there are too many of them, the body is overloaded, which results in many diseases.

Mechanism of oxidative stress actions - the result of excessive free radicals inside our organism
Mechanism of oxidative stress actions - the result of excessive free radicals inside our organism

Excess of free radicals in the body - what causes it?

A healthy body can deal with free radicals with the help of antioxidants. Antioxidants effectively eliminate free radicals and their negative impact. However, a balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for this process to take place properly. Unfortunately, factors such as prolonged stress, poor diet, sleep deprivation and frequent alcohol consumption may contribute to this balance.

Can we protect ourselves from them?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to protect them completely, but it is possible to minimise their number and effect.

  • Be aware of what you eat- chips, fries, crackers, and pastries, as harmful types of fats, are used to prepare them.
  • Stop smoking - smoking promotes the multiplication of free radicals and does a lot of damage to the body.
  • Avoid sunbathing, use UV filters. Excessive UV exposure speeds up skin ageing and can lead to the formation of melanoma.
  • Slow down the pace of life, avoid stress.
  • Do not abuse medicines.
  • Try to get away from the polluted urban environment from time to time. Walking in the forest, by the sea or in the mountains will not only help you to get some oxygen but will also allow you to calm your mind and relax.
  • Get some 7-8 hours of sleep - your body regenerates as you sleep. Do not deprive it of this opportunity.
  • Drink the right amount of water - this way you are guaranteed to cleanse your body of accumulated toxins properly.
  • Remember to be physically active. Daily gymnastics is a way to strengthen immunity and produce endorphins in the body.

Antioxidants - why should we eat products rich in antioxidants?

Antioxidants are a group of chemical compounds whose task is to protect the body from oxidative stress. It is a condition in which the body is exposed to negative consequences associated with excess free radicals in the body. Antioxidants not only eliminate free radicals but also have a positive impact on health.

Consumption of products rich in antioxidants strengthens immunity and slows down the ageing process. It is worth eating at least two dishes containing fresh fruit and vegetables every day. A regular supply of antioxidants strengthens the body's natural protective mechanisms and helps maintain health.

Sources of food rich in antioxidants

The antioxidants contained in many food products help to combat free radicals. Substances with an antioxidant effect include, among others

  • vitamins A, C, E
  • plant dyes - lycopene and beta-carotene
  • minerals such as iron, selenium, zinc
  • polyphenols - flavonoids, tannins, lignans, lignins, phenolic acids

Fresh vegetables and fruit are the sources of antioxidants. Especially those in yellow, orange and green. You will also find antioxidants in plants, for example in green and red tea or in plants such as Ashwagandha or Ginkgo Biloba.

Tags: antioxidants, antioxidative, free radicals, oxidative stress, stress

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